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What Is Melanin?

Introduction And Background

Interesting name Melanin, isn’t it? If you’ve researched on skin before or if you’ve read any article on the exposure of the sun and the different skin tone, you must have probably come across this word. Not many know what it means or what it does or where it is found but we all know that it has something to do with the skin and maybe the color and complexion of the skin. Well, in this article we will learn all about Melanin and how it affects the skin and what it actually does. However, do not think that it has something do with the skin only. Read on to see the functions of Melanin.


What Is Melanin?

All human beings have a pigment in them, a compound by the name of Melanin. The pigments are actually amino acid in nature (to make it easier for you, just think of protein). The pigment is basically responsible for the color in the body. The color not only limits itself to the skin but to other parts as well. Melanin is responsible for:
• The color of the eyes
• The color of the skin
• The color of the hair.

There are different types of melanin present in people. This explains why the entire population does not have the same skin color or the same eye color or even the same hair. The amount of melanin is also different which plays a huge part in the differentiation of an individual from the rest of the people around him.


Amount Of Melanin

Amount of melanin is basically genetically based. Simply said, it is inherited. For instance, deciding on the color of the eyes, those with brown colored irises will have more melanin in their eyes. The ones who have green eyes or blue eyes will have less melanin in them. This is also the reason that such eyes are quickly irritated by the rays of the sun while brown eyes can withstand them for a little longer. The hair color is also determined by this specific pigment and the different types of it. However, the distribution of the melanin type all over the hair also counters the hair color. The amount here is not important as much as the type. For the skin though, the amount of very important and is the most significant factor in deciding the skin tone. Those with dark skin have more melanin in them while those who have lighter skin have relatively a lot less melanin in them. Astonishingly enough, geographical areas also decide the amount of melanin and thus it is passed on genetically. In the sunny areas of Africa, almost everyone is dark skinned and their melanin content of the skin is very high.


How Important Is Melanin?

I’d say very important. Melanin is the pigment that decides the outlook of our body entirely. it decides what the color of our skin is going to be, it decides what color our eyes will be and it decides how our hair will look. I’ve named the three most important aspects of the body and the three most important things in a woman’s life (and a few men’s). If there was no melanin present in the body, I’d imagine everybody would be living a colorless life and they’d all look the same. How much fun that would be? Besides, melanin also has a few functions to perform such as the protection of skin from the Ultraviolet rays of the sun and then absorbing the heat from it as well. We might melt if we didn’t have melanin, no sarcasm intended.


Are There Any Diseases Related To Melanin?

Yes, there are. Hyperpigmentation is a disease where there is overproduction of Melanin in a person and it could lead to an incredibly uneven skin tone and even a few blotches here and there. Most likely, it’ll darken the skin and you can get easily tanned this way if you aren’t already. This usually results when there is extensive exposure to the sun or there might be a hormonal imbalance which might bring this chain reaction of overproduction. Skin conditions such as acne and or any injury might also cause hyperpigmentation.



Everything in our body is important. We tend to overlook the little things. I mean, who would have thought that a little pigment such as melanin could be responsible for so many things in the body? Who would have thought that the three things people look most after are controlled by this amino acid compound? Needless to say, now that you know what melanin does and the importance of it, try and take a bit care. You can’t change the amount of melanin you have genetically but you can try and affect the amount of increase or decrease. Don’t go out in the sun too much.

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